Amazing cottage makeover
A clever addition spans a driveway to create one beautiful, airy home from two tiny cottages. See the transformation
That was until artist Michael Shemchuk drove by. Now the house is a colorful, contemporary gem, with a stunning dining room where the driveway used to be.
The enclosed former driveway hosts a dining area that opens onto the kitchen and rear garden. It features a cascade of crystals hanging amid low-voltage track lights.
This flat-roof space almost didn't happen; city officials resisted enclosing the driveway "until we realized it was scaled to the width of a Model A and was too narrow for modern car doors to open," Shemchuk says.
Find out how they made the living room feel larger.
Resources: Harvest dining table and benches from Ted Boerner (to the trade only; 212/675-5665). MonoRail lighting with Cam heads from Tech Lighting (847/410-4601). Range hood from Wind Crest (877/387-6721). Range by Viking (888/845-4641). Romeo Moon pendant light from Flos.
To the delight of neighbors, who wrote letters in support of the project, the remodel is low, unobtrusive, and in scale with the rest of the homes on the narrow street.
The combined house is still modest in size at 1,760 square feet.
Steel posts and beams replaced the original driveway-facing walls. It's a good example of the "not-so-big house" approach, where small spaces open to one another to lend a more expansive feel. "There's no wasted space," Shemchuk says.
A pistachio-colored living room wall butts into a gray-taupe wall covered in "poor man's plaster": gray-tinted gypsum-board compound sealed in varnish. One of homeowner Michael Shemchuk's abstract works in pigmented gypsum hangs behind the couch (visit www.mshem.com to see more of his work).
Get a look at the kitchen next.
Resources: Stacked oak table designed by Artdecor. Ursula sleeper sofa in FrankFabrik from Ted Boerner. Custom couch pillows in Streamers fabric in Coffee Bean by Great Plains from Kneedler Fauchere (to the trade only; 415/487-6180). Wool jute rug in wheat from Pottery Barn ($79- $399; 888/779-5176). Mobile, homeowner's own.
The kitchen's color palette is like a muted Monet painting; in a true artistic effort, Shemchuk and Farley custom-mixed the floor stain and several paints.
A symphony of cool pastels ― robin's egg-blue walls, smoky lilac cabinets ― infuses the home with fresh colors.
See another view of the kitchen.
Resources: White 3- by 6-inch field tile by B&W Tile. Rolling island designed by Artdecor (510/527-3904) and fabricated by Mark Turpin (510/469-6784). GE Profile CustomStyle side-by-side refrigerator in stainless steel ( www.geappliances.com or 800/626-2005). Vertical-grain ash cabinets designed by Artdecor. Cabinet hardware from Häfele (800/423-3531). Bianco Carrara marble countertops from Creative Stoneworks (510/428-2202).
See their solution for bringing light into the bathroom.
The family also enjoys greenery in their cozy outdoor space.
Resources: Square 2-inch tile in Green Sea from Daltile (800/933-8453). Essex glass block from Glass Block Designs (415/626-5770). Slate floor tile in Brazilian Grey-Blue from Import Tile (888/843-5959). Custom ipe wood bench designed by Artdecor, fabricated by Mark Turpin. Wellcomme elongated toilet bowl from Kohler (800/456-4537).
"We could have built a new house with multiple stories," Shemchuk says. "But our goal was to have something quiet ― in both size and style."
Are you inspired yet? Discover even more creative ideas.
Resources: Metal daybed from West Elm (888/922-4119). Daybed fabric from Sunbrella (336/221-2211). Striped pillows made from Baystreet fabric in Grass green from Outdoor Fabrics (800/640-3539). Metal table from flea market.